Here’s a beginner’s guide to meditation.
Does the idea of meditating freak you out? Throughout my years of being a meditation teacher I’ve witnessed all kinds of resistance to the practice. The most common excuses for not meditating are, “I don’t have time,” “I can’t sit still,” and “Meditation is for yogis and super spiritual folks.” Does this sound familiar? If so, I’m here to bust the myth the meditation is difficult and not for you. Meditation is for everyone, it doesn’t have to take much time and anyone can sit still (even if it’s for just a minute).
Before we go any further, let’s begin with a few definitions so you can get familiar and comfortable with the language of meditation. Sometimes the lingo can feel off-putting, but like most things you’ll pick it up quickly.
What Is Meditation?
First, what is meditation? Meditation is a practice that trains your mind. If that sounds a little vague, it’s because there are many types of meditation done for different purposes.
Probably the most popular meditation practice in the U.S. is transcendental meditation, or TM for short. A great resource on TM is the book Transcendence, by Dr. Norman Rosenthal. Another popular practice in the U.S. is mindfulness meditation, which is based on stillness and calming the mind.
I teach Kundalini meditation. This type of meditation uses mantras, breath work, mudras (hand positions) and even physical movements. (All the meditations in my book Miracles Now are Kundalini practices.) But even before I became a student of Kundalini yoga and meditation I designed my own stillness practice based on different tools I’d learned throughout my life.
What Are Mantras?
Another term that comes up a lot when talking about meditation is mantra, which I mentioned above. What is a mantra? Simply put, a mantra is a word or sound that you repeat throughout a meditation to help focus the mind. “Mantra” comes from Sanskrit: man is the root of the word for “mind,” and tra is the root of the word for “instrument.” Mantras help us disconnect from that stream of thoughts constantly flowing (sometimes rushing) through our minds. Keep in mind, not all forms of meditation use mantras.
I’ve meditated every day for the past decade. I owe my happiness, health and awesome life to this one simple tool. Through my meditation I have learned how to boost my immune system, release my fears and heighten my intuition. My daily meditation practice has given me an internal power that supports all that I bring forth in the world.
You can check out my all-time favorite mantra here.
You too can experience this groovy power, intuition and connection by following the simple meditation steps outlined below. To help you demystify your meditation practice, I’ve created Gabby’s Guide to Meditation for beginners. These 10 steps will help you begin your very own meditation practice now and guide you to embrace the life-changing benefits that this tool has to offer.
Gabby’s Beginners Guide to Meditation
1. Anyone can meditate. You’ve just gotta want it.
Like any practice, you have to want to do it in order to achieve results. It can be hard to start a meditation practice because it seems so foreign from what we’re taught to do. But I have good news: Meditating is much simpler than we make it out to be. Beginning a meditation practice requires only your slight willingness. Your desire to experience something new is all you need to get on a new path.
Let’s set the intention to begin your practice now. Affirm this statement out loud to yourself: I am open to meditation and I welcome a new practice into my life. This simple statement will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need to continue reading this blog and beginning your practice. It’s very important to accept that anyone can meditate as long as they want to.
2. Set the mood.
It’s great to create a space in your home that is quiet, uncluttered and serene. This space can be dedicated to your practice. Keep in mind, though, that you really can meditate anywhere. You can meditate on a park bench, at your desk, in the bathtub, even on the subway. Meditation can become a part of your daily routine and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Many meditation teachers suggest that you create a sacred space to meditate in. Even if you have a small apartment, you can set up ameditation pillow and light a candle. In this video I share how I created my Zen den and altar for my meditation practice.